New York Senate Passes Bill to Legalize E-Scooters and Motor-Assisted Bikes
After years of holding out, New York might be ready to legalize the use of electronic scooters and motor-assisted bikes on streets and sidewalks. State legislators have approved a bill that would give New York City and other municipalities authority to determine if and how these vehicles can operate within their borders.
Companies such as Bird, Lime, Spin, Uber and Lyft that run scooter share operations in other states could enter the New York market soon after the bill is signed. However, Governor Cuomo remains wary of the effects these vehicles might have and is still considering whether the bill should be rejected or altered. Concerns that he and others have include:
- Danger to pedestrians — One of the governor’s main concerns is that allowing motorized vehicles on sidewalks will lead to serious pedestrian accident Accordingly, even if the law is enacted, New York State or individual cities might keep the ban on sidewalk use.
- High speeds in bike lanes — With fatal collisions involving cyclists already increasing significantly in 2019, adding e-scooters that can travel 25 miles per hour to bike lanes might make a bad situation worse.
- Age and helmet laws — Under the legislation passed by both houses of the New York legislature, riders of e-scooters and motorized bikes must be at least 16 years old. Unlike an earlier version of the bill, the current version does not make helmets mandatory, despite a CDC study demonstrating the risk of traumatic brain injury.
Currently, someone who is ticketed for operating an electric scooter or motor-assisted bicycle in New York faces a $500 fine. Despite this fact some people use these vehicles for enjoyment or to make deliveries. Should their use be legalized, e-scooter activity will increase almost immediately and injuries may result even under the best of circumstances.
For decades, the lawyers of Barasch & McGarry have advocated for New Yorkers who have been injured in all types of vehicle accidents. No matter what transportation innovations come about, we are here to seek full compensation for collision victims. To schedule a free initial consultation, please call us at 888.746.8212 or contact us online.